Report quantifies economic contribution of universities
1 December 2017
UCL contributed £4.
The study, titled 'Economic Contribution of the LERU Universities', was led by the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and is aimed at measuring the impact of those universities on the European economy in 2016. The report found that in 2016, the 23 members of LERU generated a collective economic value of €99.8 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) and 1.3 million jobs to the European economy. This demonstrates the substantial contribution that these universities make to the economy in Europe and also in the UK.
The report emphasises that, though it has attempted to quantify the economic contribution of LERU universities, it sees the longer-term impact of universities as being much greater, and encompassing factors other than economic contribution and growth.
LERU is an association of 23 leading research-intensive universities that share the values of high-quality teaching within an environment of internationally competitive research. Membership is by invitation only, and periodically evaluated against a broad set of quantitative and qualitative criteria such as research volume, impact and funding, strengths in PhD training, size and disciplinary breadth, and peer-recognised academic excellence.
The other UK universities who are members of LERU include University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, and Imperial College London. Members on the continent include the University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, and the University of Milan.
The main aim of the study was to identify how research universities make an economic contribution and, where possible, to quantify that contribution in terms of economic output and employment. The report indicates that LERU members are not only strongly contributing to the European economy but also increasing their contribution every year. Between 2014 and 2016, the economic contribution of the LERU universities increased by €28.2 billion GVA.
The contribution of UCL to the European and UK economies was split for the purposes of the report into five key areas: core (generating income, supporting employment, spending on goods and services and capital products); student; knowledge transfer, enterprise and innovation; tourism, and the productivity gain associated with graduates.
The purpose of LERU is to advocate for education and research in society, which it sees as the source of societal innovation. It uses its interest in these areas to attempt to influence policy in Europe and develop best practice amongst its stakeholders. LERU was founded in 2002 and expanded its membership only recently, in 2017.
The report was commissioned through BiGGAR, an economic consultancy based in Scotland. The organisation has undertaken around 50 economic impact studies for individual universities, predominantly in the UK.